The New Israel Fund is Beyond Defense
Over the past year, so much has been exposed about an Israeli NGO called the New Israel Fund – and yet there are many who remain uncertain of whether its mission is indeed harmful to Israel.
A recent report by one of the NIF’s primary grantees should make that answer clear. Only last week a United Nations board of inquiry determined that Israel damaged seven UN facilities in the Gaza Strip over the course of Operation Protective Edge last summer. That report was harsh on Israel, as we have come to expect from United Nations investigations, which generally ignore any world crises that Israel and Jews are not somehow connected with. Yet, in a degree of objectivity, that same report admits that Hamas did use human shields and put weapons in UN facilities.
Conversely, the report that was released on May 4 by an Israeli NGO called Shovrim Shtikah, or Breaking the Silence, hit Israel with a degree of harm that no United Nations report could do. The group’s entire mission is to delegitimize Israel, and it used its position as an Israeli group, run by Israeli Jews, to suggest that it was taking a moral stand against an immoral Jewish nation.
In its report on Protective Edge, Breaking the Silence determined that the IDF had a policy of indiscriminate fire during the Gaza War. It came to these conclusions after it secretly interviewed 60 Israeli soldiers, who remain anonymous, and issued its weighted report without context or IDF input.
BtS then went public with the report on the heels of the UN’s study, so as to keep the momentum against Israel going. The conventional wisdom is that if the UN report was as detailed as it could be without much Israeli participation, how much worse would it look if the one issued by a bona fide Israeli group came out with findings that were far worse?
Of course it worked. The media is eating it up and reporting on Israel being heavy handed without much of a mention of what started the Operation to begin with – Hamas’ indiscriminate rocket fire at Israeli citizens. The discounting of Palestinian violence against Israel, their use of tunnels to kidnap Israelis and terrorize neighborhoods, and the disregarding of their very anti-Israel charter that calls for Israel’s destruction is the method by which the New Israel Fund establishes itself in opposition to belief in a safe and secure Israel.
It is not enough that NIF pushed hard to make it legal to boycott Israel – its goods, services, and academic institutions. The NIF provides significant financial support to BtS, which enabled it to issue this subjective report that tells one side of a story to make Israelis look like butchers. To the tune of tens of millions of dollars, NIF is supported by foreign governments we often see criticizing Israel, and left leaning Jews who seem to believe Israel as a Jewish nation is an anachronism.
The New Israel Fund – and its donors – including the president of the UJA, Alisa Doctoroff, and people such as Murray Koppelman, San Diego’s Leichtag Foundation, the owners of the famous supermarket Zabar’s on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, to name a few, are harming Israel. Through their support of the NIF, they enable groups like Breaking the Silence to go about its work of undermining the very soldiers who defend the Jewish State.
In 2008-2013, the New Israel Fund authorized grants worth $560,428 to Breaking the Silence (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013). The goal is to see Israel brought up on war crimes charges in the International Criminal Court, to have solders and public officials arrested if they travel abroad, and ultimately to cause as much international harm to Israel as possible – to weaken its military and its diplomatic abilities.
Israel has enough enemies; Hamas is rebuilding its tunnels, Hezbollah is believed to have a network of underground passageways even greater than Hamas, and the fear of Iran achieving nuclear capabilities puts the threat level at an all time high. Antisemitic activities are on the rise in Europe and French Jews are looking to leave their country for the relative safety of Israel in record numbers.
Yet the New Israel Fund and its grantee Breaking the Silence would have the world believe what the radical Islamists have been selling – that Israel is evil and Jews are the root cause of death and mayhem. It simply is not true, but truth is not as powerful as perception.
If there was any doubt about the intentions of the New Israel Fund before, this latest attempt to discredit the IDF and position a nation trying to protect its people as the aggressors should make it very clear.
Hank Sheinkopf is CEO of Sheinkopf Communications and a leading Democratic strategist. His clients have included former President Bill Clinton, and others. Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, one of the 20 largest independent American PR firms. George Birnbaum is an international political consultant, who is partners with Arthur Finkelstein. Birnbaum formerly served as chief of staff for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.